Strawberry GuyÂ chats to GigList about the origins of his band name -Â inspired by fellow Liverpool band Her's and his timeÂ on tour with music buddies The Orielles.
Liverpool is producing some of the most exciting new musical artists in the UK right now, with Her's
amongst others putting the indie spotlight on the city. We featured Liverpool native, Alex Stephens
aka Strawberry Guy
back in May as part of our Lo-Fi ListensÂ
playlist with his excellent woozy dream pop single 'Without You'. Since then the track has gone on to have nearly 700,000 plays on YouTubeÂ
which is amazingly impressive for a self-release, without the PR and label machine behind it.
Moonlighting as a live keyboard player for The Orielles
, Stephens has been getting a taste for tour-life and is gearing up to take Strawberry Guy
live - watch this space! With many more unreleased tracks and a forthcoming EP release on the horizon, we're really excited to hear more music and watch Strawberry Guy
bloom. Strawberry Guy
is for fans of Beach House
, Tame Impala
and Yellow Days
. Read our chat below.
GL:Â So youâre working with The Orielles at the moment, how did that come about?
Well, I met the drummer Sid, through the Liverpool music scene as we had a lot of mutuals. We became good friends last year and through her I became closer with Es and Henry so when they needed a keyboard player they just asked! Itâs been amazing to work with people I get on so well with and nothing is forced, it just all clicks. Itâs been great touring and playing festivals with them and I canât wait to play more! We just have too much fun haha.
GL: When, where and how did you start making music?
I started playing piano when I was four believe it or not! I had classical lessons but then got into writing music... I wrote my first song when I was about 14. I grew up in Wales and my parents have this beautiful piano that I used to write on before I got my own synths and keyboards. I play it every time I go back and visit!
Â Are you a band or a solo artist?
Solo artist baby! I used to have an old band called Plain Vanilla but as I wrote all of the songs pretty much I eventually decided to be a lone berry. I record and write all the songs by myself, so it just made sense for me to be a loner.
GL:Â What is the Liverpool music scene like?
Itâs good! I love it. Itâs certainly not âtoo cool fo schoolâ either. Liverpool bands to look out forâ¦ Herâs, Hannahâs Little Sister, Seatbelts, Beach Skulls, Bill Nickson, Danye, Brad Stank, Hannah and the Wick Effect.
GL:Â Do you think location influences music making and the songwriting process?Â
Maybe! I only really write in two different places, Liverpool and Wales. I take trips to visit my parents sometimes in rural Wales and itâs a really good place to just lock yourself up for a week and write. However, Iâd love to have a writing trip sometime and visit places around the world and see if it affects my style more...
GL:Â Where did your band name come from?
Haha... I think Iâll be honest here. I was at a festival with the Herâs guys and Audun the bassist asked me what my favourite drink was and I replied with âStrawberry Milkshakeâ and he responded with âStrawberry Guyâ. I really liked it, as you can probably tell. I think it suits my âsweetâ sound and character also I guess.
GL:Â How would you describe your sound?
Hmm, I guess Iâm trying to make synths sound natural really. When I tell people I play synths they often think I write techno music or electronic music or something haha... So I guess Iâm trying to escape that (even though I love some electronic music!). I want to mix natural and electronic sounds, but overall I guess my sound is sweetness with a touch of heartache.
GL:Â We loved your single 'Without You', totally reminded us of Beach House - tell us a bit about how you recorded and released this track?
Thank you! I recorded it in my room, I record all of my tracks in my room. I like having control over the production of my tracks. I wrote the chords on piano and then started writing the lyrics and vocal melody when I took it to my synth. It was lovely to hear the track fully grow in my room with all the other instruments. It also makes the whole recording experience feel a lot more intimate to me, just me and the music. As for releasing it, I just put it out willy nilly on soundcloud and it got a lot more listens than I expected... So then decided to release it officially on all the streaming platforms!
GL:Â Strawberry Guy fans have been making videos on YouTube for your tracks. Are you hoping to make some music videos in the future?
Ahh, some of the videos are great! Thereâs an especially good one for âF Songâ on youtube.. Iâm not sure if I can top the fans videos, so I might just leave it for them to make the videos... Haha
GL:Â Well, the single is great, evidenced by the amount of blog love, Spotify and YouTube plays, future plans?
Well currently, I have a lot of songs Iâm ready to release. Iâm very excited about one in particular... I would quite like to put together a little EP at some point next year also. And, I actually havenât played a gig yet as Strawberry guy so I will certainly be gigging soon!
GL:Â What are you listening to at the moment?
Hmm, a big mix of things! Erykah Badu, Orange Juice, Hailu Mergia, Louis Prima, Stereolab to name a few! Hereâs a playlist to some of my favourites!
GL:Â Tell us about the best places to hang out in Liverpool?
The Kazimier Garden is a personal favourite of mine, cool music, cool outdoor vibe. The Grapes is great also! The Reeds on London Road was another favourite but it, unfortunately, shut down a couple of weeks ago... To be honest I donât really hang out much out in Liverpool, itâs mainly at friends houses for parties!
GL:Â Describe an average Friday night in Liverpool?
Unless Iâm busy with music, Iâm usually out drinking at The Grapes or The Kaz, and then we drink maybe a little too much and decide to have a party at a friends house or my house... mwahahah
GL:Â What live acts are you liking right now?
DUDS, Lylo, Avi Buffalo, Halo Maud and Herâs! Thereâs my top five for ya!
GL:Â Who would you like to support in the future?
I would love to support Michael Franks, thatâd be a dream.
For the latest updates on Strawberry Guy
, seeÂ here.
Photo courtesy of the artist.